A Thought For The Season

By Jim Hornsby

Every Halloween I get the urge to write about something odd. I think it has to do with seeing otherwise sane and sensible retail stores awash in artificial cobwebs and Sponge Bob Square Pants® costumes. But however you look at it, Halloween is an eerie season full of eerie things and the perfect time to share an eerie thought. I say share because that is the nature of my thought. Let me explain.

I recently read an article on mathematical probabilities. The gist of the article is that because of the sheer number of people on the planet, any time you have a thought, there is someone else, somewhere in the world, having that same thought at the same time.

The theory goes something like this: Some thoughts, like those concerning eating and sleeping, are very common, and we can expect that many other people will have those thoughts at the same time we have them. But here’s the eerie part: While the number of people having the same thought is reduced as a thought becomes more personal, the number never reaches zero. Because of the massive population of the earth — now seven billion people according to the most recent estimate by the United States Census Bureau — there is always at least one person out there having the same thought at the same time we have it.

Mathematically, the article is compelling, and I have been giving it some thought. At first, the thought of someone else having my thought was a bit unnerving — like discovering that the government has a tap on my telephone. But as I thought about it, I felt a certain comfort in the thought that there is someone out there who agrees with me all the time. No matter what goofy thought comes to my mind, there is at least one other person, somewhere, saying “Wow, that’s a great idea.”

However, complications arise from this train of thought. Suppose I’m thinking a particularly long thought; it may be that no one person shares the complete thought, but that a number of different people share parts of it. If so, would it flow through numerous minds like a cosmic version of football fans doing “the wave”? Maybe. And suppose I’m having a thought about someone else having my thought; does that mean that someone else is thinking about someone else thinking about someone else having the same thought? If so, is it possible that this echo effect will multiply and eventually cause an epic feedback that will blow out some universal amplification system? I don’t even want to think about it.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “This guy has waaaaay too much time on his hands.” My thought exactly. Since I retired, I have been thinking about ways to busy myself, and I have decided that publishing Dancing Noodle Magazine is just the ticket. It will give me a chance to meet and work with some remarkably talented people, and it will keep me busy putting my thoughts onto paper. (Well not onto paper exactly; more like into cyberspace, but you know what I mean). At any rate, it is great fun to write, and I look forward to doing a lot of it.

And according to the theory, there are kindred spirits out there who are also thinking about putting their thoughts into writing. Great! The Noodle is looking for writers, and we are especially interested in encouraging those of you who are just getting started in the field. We will pay $100.00 for each published article, and there will be awards and prizes for the best articles as decided by reader polls. So come on – join the fun. We’ll be thinking about you.

Oh, and one more thought. If you were thinking about writing this article and I beat you to it, I’m sorry. You can write the next one. Happy Halloween.

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